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ISLAMIC WAY OF

LIFE

‫ٱ ٱلَّر ۡس َم ٰـ ِب ٱلَّر ِب ِبي‬


‫ِب ۡس ِبي ِب‬
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the [One Who] Sustains the Heavens and Earths,
Director of all that is created, who sent the Messengers (may the peace and blessings of Allah be
upon all of them) to rational beings, to guide them and explain the religious laws to them with clear
proofs and undeniable arguments. I praise Him for all of His bounties. I ask Him to increase His
Grace and Generosity. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah alone, who
has no partner, the One, Who Subdues, the Generous, the Forgiving. I bear witness that our leader
Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, His beloved and dear one, the best of all creation. He
was honoured with the Glorious Qur’an that has been an enduring miracle throughout the years.
He was also sent with his guiding Sunnah that shows the way for those who seek guidance. Our
leader Muhammad has been particularised with the characteristic of eloquent and pithy speech,
and simplicity and ease in the religion. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the
other Prophets and Messengers, all of their families and the rest of the righteous.

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er for the sake of spreading the True teachings of Islam.
Islamic Way of Life
Abul A‘la Al-Mawdudi

1. ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF LIFE in all walks of life. Man must live this life with the realiza-
tion that he is to be judged and his sole objective should
The chief characteristic of the Islamic Concept of Life be to merit the pleasure of Allah so as to emerge successful
is that it does not admit a conflict, nay, not even a signifi- in the final test. Conduct which is contrary to this would
cant separation between life-spiritual and life-mundane. It lead man astray. If man follows the course of piety and
does not confine itself merely in purifying the spiritual and Godliness (which he is free to choose and follow) he will
the moral life of man in the limited sense of the word. Its succeed in this world and in the next, in this world he
domain extends to the entire gamut of life. It wants to will live a life of peace and contentment, and in the Here-
mould individual life as well as the social order in healthy after he will qualify himself for the heaven of eternal bliss,
patterns, so that the Kingdom of God may really be es- al-Jannah. And if he chooses to follow the other course,
tablished on the earth and so that peace, contentment and i.e., that of Godlessness and evil (which he is equally free
well-being may fill the world as waters fill the oceans. The to choose and follow) his life will be one of corruption,
Islamic Way of Life is based on this unique approach to disruption and frustration in this world and he will meet
life and a peculiar concept of man’s place in the Universe. colossal misfortune in the life to come - that abode of pain
That is why it is necessary that before we proceed to dis- and misery which is called Jahannam (Hell).
cuss the moral, social, political and economic systems of
After administering the warning, God set man upon
Islam, we should have a clear idea of the Islamic Concept
the earth and provided the very first human beings (Adam
of Life.
and Eve) with Ms Guidance in accordance with which men
There are certain basic postulates which should be un-
were to live on the earth. Thus, man’s life on this earth
derstood and appreciated at the very outset. These pos-
did not begin in utter darkness. The very first man was
tulates are as follows:
provided with a burning torch of light and guidance so that
humanity might attain its glorious destiny. The very first
1.1. Basic Postulate man received revealed knowledge from God Himself. He
Allah Who is the Creator, the Ruler and the Lord of had knowledge of the reality and was given the code of
the entire Universe has created man and provided him with life by following which he could live a life of bliss and suc-
temporary station in that part of His vast kingdom (cos- cess. This code of life was Islam, the attitude of complete
mos) which is known as the earth. He has endowed man submission to Allah, the Creator of man and of the whole
with the faculties of thinking and understanding, and has universe. It was this religion which Adam, the first man,
given him the power to distinguish right from wrong. Man passed down to posterity. But later generations gradually
has also been invested with freedom of will and choice and drifted away from the right path and adopted different
the power to use the resources of the world in any manner erroneous paths. Because of negligence, they lost the orig-
he likes. In short, man has been given a sort of autonomy inal teachings, or due to folly or mischief they adulterated
while being appointed by God on earth as a successor to and perverted them. They associated with God innumer-
the beings that had previously populated it. able human beings, non-human objects and imaginary en-
Before assigning to man the inheritance of the earth, tities as deities and indulged in Shirk (polytheism) of the
God made it explicitly clear to him that He alone is the worst type. They mixed up the pure teachings of God
Lord, the Ruler and the Deity. As such, the entire Universe with strange myths, ideas and philosophies and thus pro-
and all the creatures in it (including man) must submit to duced a jungle of religions and cults. They discarded the
Him alone. Man must not think himself totally free and God-given principles of social ethics and collective moral-
should know that this earth is not his permanent abode. ity, the Shari’ah, and deprived the human life of peace and
He has been made to live upon it only during the period tranquility.
of his probation, and in due course, he will return to his Although men departed from the path of truth, disre-
Lord, to be judged according to the way he has utilized garded and distorted the Shari’ah and some of them even
the period of probation. The only right course for man is revolted against the code of Divine Guidance, yet God did
to acknowledge Allah as the only Lord, the Sustainer and not destroy them or force them to the right course. Forced
the Deity and to follow His Guidance and His Commands conversion to the right path was not in keeping with the

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autonomy He had given to man. Instead, God appointed but the entire concept of life envisaged as epitomized in
certain virtuous persons from amongst the people them- the following verse:
selves, to discharge the responsibility of recalling and guid- ” God hath purchased of the Believers. Their persons
ing men to the right path during their sojourn on the earth. and their goods; For their (in return) Is the Garden (of
These men believed in God, and lived a life of obedience to Paradise) They fight in His Cause, And slay and are slain:
Him. He honored them by His revelations and gave them A promise binding on Him In Truth, through the Law, The
the knowledge of reality. These men, known as prophets Gospel, and the Qur’an: And who is more faithful To his
(peace be upon all of them), were assigned the task of pre- Covenant than God? Then rejoice in bargain Which ye
senting the message of truth to humanity and of asking the have concluded: That is the achievement supreme. ”(Al-
people to come to the path of the Lord. Qur’an, IX:II1)
These prophets were raised in all epochs, in all lands In the above verse the nature of the relationship which
and in all nations. Out of numerous prophets sent by God, comes into existence between man and God because of
the Qur’an explicitly mentions twenty-five. All of them Imam (the act of reposing faith in Allah) has been called
brought the same message, all of them advocated the same a ”bargain”. This means that Iman in Allah is not a mere
way of life (Deen) i.e., the way which was revealed to man metaphysical concept; it is in the nature of a contract by
on the first day of his existence. All of them followed the which man barters his life and his belongings with Allah in
same guidance: the guidance which was prescribed by the exchange for Paradise in the life Hereafter. God so to say,
Lord for man at the outset of his career on the earth. All purchases a believer’s life and property and promises, by
of them stood for the same mission: they called men to way of price, the award of Paradise in the life after death.
the religion if Islam, asked those who accepted the Divine The concept of bargain has important implications and we
Guidance to live in accordance with it: and organized them should, therefore, first of all clearly understand its nature
into a movement for the establishment of the Divine Law, and meanings.
and for putting an end to all deviations from the Right The fact of the matter is that each and every thing in
Path. Every prophet tried to fulfill this mission in the best this world belongs to Allah. He is the real owner of them
possible way. But quite a number of people never accepted all. As such, man’s life and riches, which are part of this
this guidance and many of those who accepted it gradually world, also belong to Him, because it is He Who created
drifted astray and, al lapse of time, lost the guidance or them and it is He Who has assigned them to each man
distorted it through innovations and perversions. for his use. Looking at the problem from this angle; the
At last, God raised Prophet Mohammed (peace be question of His purchasing what is already His: Man is not
upon him) in the land of Arabia and assigned to him the their real owner; he has no title to sell them. But there
completion of the mission for which earlier prophets were is one thing which has been conferred on man, and which
ordained. The message of Mohammed (peace be upon now belongs fully to him, and that is his free will, the
him) was for the whole of mankind. He presented anew freedom of choice of following or not following the path of
the teachings of Islam in their pristine form and provided Allah. As man has been endowed with free will in this re-
mankind once again, with the Divine Guidance which they spect, he is free to acknowledge or not to acknowledge the
had lost in its original form. He organized all those who reality of things. Although this freedom of will and choice
accepted his message into one Ummah (Nation) which was that man possesses does not automatically make him the
charged with reconstructing its own life in accordance with real owner of all the energies and resources on which he
the teachings of Islam, by calling mankind to the path of has command. Nor does he acquire the title to utilize
righteousness and with establishing the supremacy of the them in any way he likes. Nor does his acknowledgment
word of God on the earth. This guidance is enshrined in of reality or refusal to do so in any way affects reality as
the Holy Qur’an which constitutes the only right code of such. Yet it does mean that he is free to acknowledge the
conduct for mankind. sovereignty of God and His over lordship on his own life
and belongings or refuse to acknowledge it and to arrogate
1.2. Iman (Faith): Its Nature And Character to himself the position of total independence. He may, if
he so likes, regard himself free from all obligations to the
We have discussed above those basic postulates of Islam Lord and may think that he enjoys full rights and powers
which, on the one hand, revealed God’s plan for providing over all that he has, and thus, may use them according to
guidance to man in this world and, on the other, defined his own wishes unfettered by any higher command. It is
the nature, position and status of man in it. Now, let us here that the question of bargain comes in. This bargain
study the foundations on which the Qur’an wants to de- does not mean that God is purchasing something which
velop man’s relationship with Allah and the concept of life belongs to man. Its real nature is this: All creation be-
which naturally follows from that relationship. longs to God but He has bestowed certain things on man
The Qur’an deals with this problem on many occasion to be used by him as a trust from God. And man has been

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given freedom to honestly fulfill the trust or if he so likes, thing that comes from the heart. It is an attitude of the
to betray it or misuse it. Now, God demands that man mind and prepares man for a certain course of action. If
should willingly and voluntarily (and not under duress or a man recites the Kalima, enters into the contract, and
compulsion) acknowledge those things as His which really even offers his prayers and performs other acts of worship,
belongs to Him and man should use them as a trust from but in his heart he regards himself as the owner and the
God and not as something his own to be used as he pleases. sovereign dispenser of his physical and mental powers and
Thus, a man who voluntarily renounces the freedom even of his moral and material resources, uses them to his own
to refuse God’s supremacy and instead acknowledges His liking and upholds his freedom of will, then, however much
sovereignty. So to say, ”sells” his ”autonomy” (which too of the people may look upon him as Mu’min (believer), in
is a gift from God and not something which man has ac- the eyes of God he will be a non-believer, for he has, in fact,
quired of his own) to God, and gets in return God’s promise not really entered into the bargain which according to the
of eternal bliss that is Paradise. A man who makes such Qur’an is the essence of Iman (belief). If a man does not
a bargain is a ”Mu’min” (Believer). And Iman (Belief) use his powers and resources in the way God has prescribed
is the Islamic name for this contract; while the one who for him, and instead uses them in pursuits which God has
chooses not to enter into this contract, or after making prohibited, it clearly shows that either he has not pledged
such a contract amounting to its gross breach, is one who his life and property to Allah, or even after pledging them
has followed the course of the devil. Thus Allah says: to Him, he falsifies the pledge by his conduct.
”Say if it be that your fathers, Your sons, your broth- This nature of Iman makes the Islamic way of life dis-
ers, Your mates, or your kindred; The wealth that you have tinct from, nay, the very opposite of, the non-Islamic way
gained; The commerce in which you fear a decline: or the of life. A Muslim, who has real faith in Allah, makes every
dwellings in which you delight Are dearer to you than God, aspect of his subservience to the Will of Allah. His entire
Or His apostle, of the striving In His cause; then wait until life is one of obedience and surrender and he never behaves
Allah brings about His Decision. And God Guides not the in an arrogant or an autonomous way, except in a moment
rebellious.” (Al-Qur’an, IX:24) of forgetfulness. And after such a lapse as soon as he be-
The attempt to avoid or abrogate this contract can lead comes conscious of it, he again re-addresses himself to his
to Kufr (total disbelief). Such is the nature and the con- Lord and repents his error. Similarly, a group of people
tract. Now let us briefly study its various aspects and or a society which consist of true Muslims can never break
stipulations. away from the Law of their Lord. Its political o, its social
God has put us to serious trail on two counts: organization, its culture, its economic policy, its legal sys-
He has left man free. But even after giving him that tem and its international strategy must all be in tuned with
freedom He wishes to see whether or not man realizes his the Code of Guidance revealed by Allah and must, in no
true position. Whether he remains honest and steadfast way, contravene it. And if ever, through error or omission,
and maintains loyalty and allegiance to the Lord, or loses any contravention it committed, they must, on realizing
his head and revolts against his own Creator; whether he this, correct this immediately and return forthwith to the
behaves like a noble soul, or tramples under foot all values state of subservience to the Law of God. It is the way of
of decency and starts playing fantastic tricks. the non-believers to feel free from God’s Guidance and to
He wants to see whether man is prepared to have such behave as one’s own master. Whoever adopts such a pol-
confidence in God as to offer his life and wealth in return icy, even though he may bear a name similar to that of a
for what is a promise. That is to materialize in the next Muslim, is treading the satanic path and is following the
world and whether he is prepared to surrender his auton- way of the non-believers.
omy and all the charms that go with it, in exchange for a The Will of God, which is obligatory upon man to fol-
promise about the future. low, is the one which God Himself has revealed for man’s
It is an accepted principle of Islamic law that Iman con- guidance. The Will of God is not to be determined by man
sists of adherence to a certain set of doctrines and whoso- himself. God has Himself enunciated it clearly and there
ever reposes faith in those doctrines becomes a Mu’min. is no ambiguity about it. There, if a person or society is
No one has a right to denounce such a man as non-believer honest and steadfast in its contract with Allah, it must
or drive him out of the fold of the Ummah (Islamic Com- scrupulously fashion its entire life in accordance with the
munity), save when there is explicit proof of falsity or of Book of God and the Sunnah (practical example) of the
renunciation of the belief. This is the legal aspect of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
problem. But in the eyes of the Lord, only that Iman is A little reflection will show that these aspects and stip-
valuable which consists in complete surrender of one’s will ulations are logically implicit in the bargain and it is also
and choice to the Will of Allah. It is a state of thought clear from the above discussion why the payment of the
and action wherein man submits himself fully to Allah, ”price” has been postponed tot he life after death. Par-
renouncing all claim to his own supremacy. It is some- adise is not the reward for the mere profession of the bar-

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gain, it is the reward for the faithful execution of the con- by the Holy Prophet and the Holy Book is true, it is for
tract. Unless the contract is fully executed and the actual him to step forward and surrender his will to the Will of
life-behavior of the ”vendor” complies with the terms of God. It is this submission which is called ”Islam”, the
the contract he does not become entitled to the reward. fructification of faith (Iman) in actual life. And those who
Thus, the final act of the ”sale” is concluded only at the do so, i.e., those who of their own free will, accept God
last moment of the vendor’s life, and as such, it is nat- as their Sovereign, and surrender to His Divine Will and
ural that the reward should be given to him in the Life undertake to regulate their lives in accordance with His
Hereafter. Commandments, are called ”Muslims”.
There is another significant point which emerges from All those persons who thus surrender themselves to the
the study of the verse quoted above (Al-Qur’an, IX:24) persons who thus surrender themselves to the Will of God
when it is read with reference to its context. In the verses are welded into a community and that is how the ”Muslim
preceding it, reference has been made to the people who society” comes into being. Thus, ” is a principled society -
professed Iman and promised a life of obedience, but when a society radically different from those which are founded
the hour of trail came they proved unequal to the task. on the basis of race, color or territory. This society is the
Some neglected the call of the hour and betrayed the cause. result of a deliberate choice and effort; it is the outcome of
Others, played tricks of hypocrisy and, refused to sacrifice a ”contract” which takes place between human beings and
their lives and riches in the cause of Allah. The Qur’an, the Creator. Those who enter into this contract, under-
after exposing these people and criticizing their insincerity take to recognize God as their sovereign, His Guidance as
makes it clear that Iman is a contract, a form of pledge Supreme, and His injunctions as absolute Law. They also
between man and God. It does not consist of a mere pro- undertake to accept, without question or doubt His classi-
fession of belief in Allah. It is an acknowledgment of the fications of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Permissible
fact that Allah alone is our Sovereign Lord and Ruler and and Prohibited. In short, the Islamic society agrees to limit
that everything that man has, including his life, belongs to its volition to the extent prescribed by the All-Knowing
Him and must be used in accordance with His directives. God. In other words, it is God and not man whose will is
If a Muslim adopts a contrary course he is insincere in his the primary Source of Law in a Muslim society.
profession of faith. True believers are only those who have When such a society comes into existence, the Book
really sold their lives and all that they possessed to God and the Messenger prescribe for it a code of life called the
and who followed His dictates in all fields of activity. They Shari’ah, and this Society is bound to conform to it by
stake their all in obedience to the Commands of the Lord, virtue of the contract it has entered into. It is, therefore,
and do not deviate even an inch from the path of loyalty inconceivable that any Muslim society worth the name can
to God. Such only are the true believers. deliberately adopt a system of life other than the Shari’ah.
If it does so, its contract is ipso facto broken and the whole
1.3. The Plan Of Life society becomes ”un-Islamic”.
But we must clearly distinguish between the everyday
This discussion makes it clear that Islam begins with sins or violations of the individuals and a deliberate revolt
laying down the proper lines on which man’s relationship against the Shari’ah. The former may not imply breaking
with the Lord is to be reared; his entire individual and up of the contract, while the latter would mean nothing
social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening short of that. The point that should be clearly understood
this relationship. Iman, the starting point of our religion, here is that, if an Islamic society consciously resolves not
consists in the acceptance of this relationship by man’s in- to accept the Shari’ah, and decides to enact its own con-
tellect and will. Thus, Islam is actual submission, the way stitution and laws or borrows them from any other source,
of surrender to the Will of God in all aspects of life and (in utter disregard of the Shari’ah) such a society breaks
behavior. Now, we are in a position to cast a glance over its contract with God and forfeits its right to be called
the plan of life which Islam envisages. This plan - the code ”Islamic”.
of conduct - is known as the Shari’ah. Its sources are the
Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be 1.4. The Objectives and Characteristics of the
upon him). Plan
The Final Book of God and the Final Messenger stands
today as a repository of this truth, and they invite the Let us now proceed to understand the plan of life en-
whole of humanity to accept the truth. God Almighty has visaged by the Shari’ah. To understand that, it is essential
endowed men with free will in the moral domain, and it is that we start with a clear conception of the objectives and
to this free will that this acceptance bears reference. Con- the fundamentals of Shari’ah.
sequently, it is always a voluntary act and not of compul- The main objective of the Shari’ah is to construct hu-
sion. Whosoever agrees that the concept of Reality stated man life on the basis of Ma’rufat (virtues) and to cleans

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it of the Munkarat (vices). The term Ma’rufat proclaims ommended by implication and inference from the sayings
as good and right everything declared by Allah and by His of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Besides this,
messenger to be so. Taking this definition as the norm, special arrangements have been made for the growth and
the term Ma’rufat should denote all the virtues and good encouragement of some of them in the plan of life enunci-
qualities that have always been accepted as ”good” by the ated by the Shari’ah. Others still have simply been recom-
pure and unadulterated human conscience. Conversely, the mended by the Shari’ah leaving it to the society or to its
word Munkarat refers to everything that Allah and His more virtuous elements to look to their promotion.
Apostle (peace be upon him) have denounced as evil. In This leaves us with the permissible Ma’rufat. Strictly
the light of this understanding, it denotes all the sins and speaking, according to the Shari’ah everything which has
evils that have always been condemned by pure human not been expressly prohibited by it is a Permissible Ma’ruf
nature as ”evil”. In short, the Ma’rufat are in harmony (i.e., Mubah). It is not at all necessary that an express per-
with human nature and its requirements in general, whilst mission should exist about it or that it should have been
the Munkarat are just the opposite. The Shari’ah gives a expressly left to our choice. Consequently, the sphere of
clear view of these Ma’rufat and Munkarat and states them permissible Ma’rufat is very wide so much so that except
as the norms to which the individual and social behavior for the things specifically prohibited by the Shari’ah, ev-
should conform. erything is permissible for a Muslim. And this is exactly
The Shari’ah does not, however, limit its function to the sphere where we have been given freedom and where
providing us with an inventory of virtues and vices only; we can legislate according to our own discretion to suit
it lays down the entire plan of life in such a manner that the requirements of our age and conditions, of course in
virtues may flourish and vices may not pollute and destroy keeping with the general spirit of the Shari’ah.
human life.
To achieve this end, the Shari’ah has embraced in its 1.6. Munkarat (Munkar)
plan all the factors that encourage the growth of good and
has recommended steps for the removal of impediments The Munkarat (or the things prohibited in Islam) have
that might prevent its growth and development. The pro- been grouped into two categories: Haram, i.e., those things
cess gives rise to subsidiary series of Ma’rufat consisting of which have been prohibited absolutely and Makruh, i.e.,
the causes and means initiating and nurturing the good, those things which have been disliked and discouraged. It
and yet another set of Ma’rufat consisting of prohibitory has been enjoined on Muslims by clear mandatory injunc-
commands in relation to those things which act as pre- tions to refrain totally from everything that has been de-
ventives or impediments to good. Similarly, there is a clared Haram. As for the Makruhat the Shari’ah signifies
subsidiary list of Munkarat which might initiate or allow its dislike in some way or another, i.e., either expressly or
growth of evil. by implication, giving an indication also as to the degree of
The Shari’ah shapes the Islamic society in a way con- such dislike. For example, there are some Makruhat bor-
ducive to the unfettered growth of good, virtue and truth dering on Haram, while others bear affinity with the acts
in every sphere of human activity, and gives full play to which are permissible. Of course, their number is very
the forces of going all directions. And at the same time large ranging between the two extremes of prohibitory and
it removes all impediments in the path of virtue. Along permissible actions. Moreover, in some cases, explicit mea-
this, it attempts to eradicate evils from its social plan by sures have been prescribed by the Shari’ah for the preven-
prohibiting vice, by obviating the causes of its appearance tion of Makruhat, while in others such arrangements have
and growth, by closing the inlets through which it creeps been left to the discretion of the society or of the individ-
into a society and by adopting deterrent measures to check ual.
its occurrence.
1.7. Some other Characteristics
1.5. Ma’rufat (ma’roof )
The Shari’ah, thus, prescribes directives for the regu-
The Shari’ah classifies Ma’rufat into three categories: lation of our individual as well as collective life. These
the Mandatory (Fardh and Wajib), the Recommendatory directives touch such varied subjects as religious rituals,
(Matlub) and the Permissible (Mubah). personal character, morals, habits, family relationships, so-
The observance of the mandatory (Ma’rufat) is obliga- cial and economic affairs, administration, rights and duties
tory on a Muslim society and the Shari’ah has given clear of citizens, judicial system, laws of war and peace and in-
and binding directions about them. The recommendatory ternational relations. In short, it embraces all the various
Ma’rufat are those which the Shari’ah wants a Muslim so- departments of human life. These directives reveal what
ciety to observe and practice. Some of them have been is good and bad, what is beneficial and useful and what
very clearly demanded of us, while others have been rec- is injurious and harmful. What are the virtues which are

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the evils for which we have to suppress and guard against. misbehavior and rudeness have never found recognition as
What is the sphere of our voluntary, untrammeled, per- good moral qualities. Persons having a sense of responsi-
sonal and social action and what are its limits. And finally,bility and devotion to duty have always won the highest
what ways and means we can adopt in establishing such regard of men; never have people who are incompetent,
a dynamic order of society and what methods we should slothful and lacking in sense of duty been looked upon with
avoid. The Shari’ah is a complete plan of life and an all approval. Similarly, in respect of the standard of good and
embracing social order - nothing superfluous, nothing lack- bad in the collective behavior of society as a whole, the
ing. Another remarkable feature of the Shari’ah is that it verdict has always been almost unanimous. Only that so-
is an organic whole. The entire plan of life propounded by ciety has been looked upon as worthy or honor and respect
Islam is animated by the same spirit. Hence, any arbitrary which possesses the virtues of organization, discipline, mu-
division of its plan is bound to harm the spirit as well as tual affection and fellow feeling and has established a so-
the structure of the Islamic order. In this respect, it mightcial order based on justice, freedom and equality of men.
be compared to the human body which is an organic whole. As opposed to this, disorganization, no-discipline, anarchy,
A leg pulled out of the body cannot be called one-eight or disunity, injustice and social imbalance have always been
one-sixth man, because after its separation from the living considered as manifestations of decay and disintegration in
body, the leg can no longer perform its human function. a society. Robbery, murder, larceny, adultery, fraud and
Nor can it be placed in the body of some other animal graft have always been condemned. Slandering, scandal
with any hope of making it human to the extent of that mongering and blackmailing has never been considered as
limb. Likewise, we cannot form a correct opinion about wholesome social activities.
the utility, efficiency and beauty of the hand, the eyes or Contrary to this service and care of the aged, help of
the nose of a human being separately, without judging its one’s kith and kin, regard for neighbors, loyalty to friends,
place and function within the living body. assistance of the weak, the destitute and the orphans, and
The same can be said in regard to the scheme of life en- nursing the sick are qualities which have always been highly
visaged by the Shari’ah. Islam signifies the entire scheme valued ever since the dawn of civilization. Virtuous, po-
of life and not any isolated part or parts thereof. Conse- lite, mild and sincere persons have always been welcomed.
quently neither can it be appropriate to view the different Individual who are upright, honest, sincere, outspoken and
part of the Shari’ah in isolation from one another and with- dependable, whose needs conform to their words, who are
out regard to the whole, nor will it be of any use to take any
content with their own rightful possession, who are prompt
part and bracket it with any other ”ism”. The Shari’ah can in the discharge of their obligations to others, who live in
function smoothly and can demonstrate its efficacy only if peace and let others live in peace and from whom nothing
the entire system of life is practiced in accordance with it but good can be expected, have always formed the core of
and not otherwise. any healthy human society.
This shows that human moral standards are in fact
2. THE MORAL SYSTEM OF ISLAM universal and have been well-known to mankind through-
out the ages. Good and evil are not myths to be hunted
Moral sense is inborn in man and through the ages it out. They are well- known realities and are equally well-
has served as the common man’s standard of moral be- understood by all. The sense of good and evil is inherent
havior, approving certain qualities and disapproving oth- in the very nature of man. Hence, in the terminology of
ers. While this instinctive faculty may vary from person the Qur’an virtue is called ”Ma’roof ’ (something to be an-
to person, human conscience has given a more or less uni- nounced) and evil is designated as ”Munkar” (something
form verdict in favor of certain moral qualities as being to be denounced); that is to say virtue is known to be de-
good and declared certain others as bad. On the side of sirable for every one and evil is not known to commend
moral virtues, justice, courage, bravery and truthfulness itself in any way. This fact is mentioned by the Qur’an
have always elicited praise. History does not record any when it says:
period worth the name in which falsehood, injustice, dis- ”And (Allah gave to the Soul) its enlightenment as to
honesty, and breach of trust may have been upheld. Fellow- its wrong and its right; ..... (Quran, 91:8)
feeling, compassion, fidelity, and magnanimity have always
been valued while selfishness, cruelty, miserliness and big- 2.1. Why Differences ?
otry have never received the approval of the human so-
ciety; men have always appreciated perseverance, deter- The questions that arises are: if the basic values of good
mination and courage and have never approved of impa- and evil have been so well-known and there has virtually
tience, fickle-mindedness, cowardice and imbecility. Dig- been a universal agreement thereon, then why do varying
nity, restraint, politeness, and amiability have throughout patterns of moral behavior exist in this world? Why are
the ages been counted among virtues, whereas snobbery, there so many and do conflicting moral philosophies? Why

6
do certain moral standards contradict each other? What He alone is its unrivaled Master, Sovereign and Sustainer.
lies at the root of their difference? What is the unique The whole universe is functioning under His Divine Com-
position of Islam in the context of the prevailing ethical mand. He is All-Wise, All-Powerful and Omniscient. He is
systems? On what grounds can we claim that Islam has a Subbooh and Quddoos that is, free from all defects, mis-
perfect moral system? And what exactly is the distinctive takes, weaknesses and faults and pure in every respect).
contribution of Islam in the real of ethics? These questions His God-hood is free from partiality and injustice. Man is
are important and must be squarely faced; but justice can- His creature, subject and servant and is born to serve and
not be done to them on the brief span of this talk. obey Him.
To cut a long story short, I shall briefly sum up some of The correct way of life for man is to live in complete
those important points which strike us at the very outset obedience to Him. It is not for man to determine the mode
when we undertake a critical examination of the contempo- of worship and obedience; it is for God to decide this. God,
rary ethical systems and the conflicting patterns of moral being the master, has raised from time to time prophets
behavior. for the guidance of humanity and has revealed His books
(a) The present moral system fail to integrate various through them. It is the duty of man to take the code of
moral virtues and norms by prescribing their specific limits his life from these sources of divine guidance. Man is an-
and utility and assigning to them their proper place. That swerable to God for all his actions in life. The time for
is why they fail to provide a balanced and coherent plan rendering an account will be in the life-hereafter and not
of social conduct. in this world. The short span of worldly life is really an
(b) The real cause of their differences seems to lie in opportunity to prepare for that great test. In this life all
the moral systems offering different standards for good and efforts of man should be centered on the object of soliciting
bad actions and enunciating different means of distinguish- the Pleasure and Blessings of God in the Hereafter. Dur-
ing good form evil. Differences also exist in respect of the ing this test every person is responsible for all his beliefs
sanction behind the moral law and in regard to the motives and actions. He, with all his faculties and potentialities, is
which impel a person to follow it. on trial. There will be an impartial assessment of his con-
(c) On deeper reflection, we find that the grounds for duct in life. By a Being Who keeps a complete and correct
these differences emerge from different peoples conflicting record not merely of his movements and actions and their
views and concepts about the universe, the place of man in influence on all that is in the world from the tiniest speck
the universe, ’and the purpose of man on the earth. Var- of dust to the loftiest mountains but also a full record of
ious theories of ethics, philosophy and religion are but a his innermost ideas and feelings and intentions.
record of the vast divergence of views of mankind on these
most vital questions, viz. Is there a God and a Sovereign 2.3. Goal of Moral Striving
of the universe and if there is, is He One or are there many
gods? What are Divine Attributes? What is the nature of This is Islam’s fundamental attitude towards life. This
the relationship between God and the human beings? Has concept of the universe and of man’s place therein deter-
God made any arrangements for guiding humanity through mines the real and ultimate goal which should be the object
the rough and tumble of life or not? Is man answerable to of all the endeavors of mankind and which may be termed
God or not? If he is, then what are the matters for which briefly as ”seeking the pleasure of God”. This is the stan-
he is to be answerable? What is the ultimate aim of man’s dard by which a particular mode of conduct is judged and
creation which he should keep in view throughout his life? classified as good or bad. This standard of judgment pro-
Answers to these questions will determine the way of life, vides the nucleus around which the whole moral conduct
the ethical philosophy and the pattern of moral behavior should revolve. Man is not left like a ship without moor-
of the individual and the society. ings, being tossed about by the blows of wind and tides.
This dispensation places a central object before mankind
It is difficult for me in this brief talk to take stock of
the various ethical system prevalent in the world, indicateand lays down values and norms for all moral actions. It
what solutions each one of them has proposed to these provides us with a stable and flawless set of values which
questions and what has been the impact of these answers remains unaltered under all circumstances. Moreover, with
on the moral evolution of the society believing in these making the ”pleasure of God” as the object of man’s life,
concepts. Here I can confine myself to the Islamic concept a highest and noblest objective is set before humanity, and
only and this I shall try to propound. thus, unlimited possibilities are opened for man’s moral
evolution, unstained at any stage by any shadow of nar-
row selfishness or bigoted race or nation worship.
2.2. Islamic Concept of Life And Morality
While providing a normal standard Islam also furnishes
The viewpoint of Islam, however, is that this universe us with means of determining good and evil conduct. It
is the creation of God Who is One. He created it and does not base our knowledge of vice and virtue on mere

7
intellect, desire, intuition, or experience derived through and a Muslim community on the straight path of virtue,
the sense-organs, which constantly undergo shifts, modifi- provided, the spark of genuine faith dwells in their hearts.
cations and alterations and do not provide definite, cate-
gorical and unchanging standards of morality. It provides
2.5. Motives and Incentives
us with a definite source, the Divine Revelation, as em-
bodied in the Book of God and the Sunnah way of life This concept of Islam about man and his place in the
of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This source universe also provides those motivating forces which can in-
prescribes a standard or moral conduct that is permanent spire a person to act in conformity with the moral law. The
and universal and holds good in every age and under all fact, that a man voluntarily and willingly accepts God as
circumstances. The moral code of Islam covers the small- his own Creator, and the obedience to God as the mode of
est details of domestic life as well as the broad aspects of his life and strives to seek His Pleasure in his every action,
national and international behavior. It guides us in every provides a sufficient incentive to enable him to obey the
stage of life. These regulations imply the widest applica- commandments which he believes to be from God. Along
tion of moral principles in the affairs of our life and make with this, the belief in the Day of Judgment and the belief
us free from exclusive dependence on any other source of that whosoever obeys Divine Commands is sure to have
knowledge, expect as an aid to this primary source. a good life ’in the Hereafter, the Eternal Life, whatever
difficulties and handicaps he may have to face in this tran-
sitory phase of life, provides a strong incentive for virtuous
2.4. Sanction Behind Morality
life. On the other hand, the belief that whoever violates
This concept of the universe and of man’s place therein the Commandments of God in this world and dies in a
also furnishes the sanction that must lie at the back of ev- state of Kufr (unbelief) shall have to bear eternal pun-
ery moral law. Viz., the love and fear of God, the sense of ishment however superficially nice a life he may have led
accountability on the Day of Judgment and the promise of in this temporary abode, is an effective deterrent against
eternal bliss and reward in the life hereafter. Although Is- violation of moral law. If this hope and fear are firmly
lam wants to cultivate a powerful and strong mass opinion, ingrained, and deeply rooted in one’s heart, they will pro-
which may induce individuals and groups to abide by the vide a strong motive-force to inspire one to virtuous deeds
principles of morality laid by it and also aims at the evo- even on occasions when worldly consequences may appear
lution of a political system which would enforce the moral to be very damaging and harmful, and it will keep one
law, as far as possible, through its legislative and executive away from evil even on occasions when it looks extremely
power. Islam’s moral law does not really depend on these attractive and profitable.
external pressures alone. It relies upon the inherent urge This clearly indicates that Islam possesses a distinctive
for good in every man which is derived from belief in God criterion of good and evil, its own source of moral law,
and a Day of Judgment. Before laying down any moral in- and its own sanction and motive force, and by them its
junction, Islam seeks to firmly implant in man’s heart the virtues in all spheres of life after knitting them into a bal-
conviction that his dealings are with God Who sees him at anced and comprehensive plan. Thus, it can be justifiably
all times and in all places. That he may hide himself from claimed that Islam possesses a perfect moral system of its
the whole world but not from Him. That he may deceive own. This system has many distinguishing features and I
everyone but cannot deceive God. That he can flee from shall refer to the three most significant ones which, in my
the clutches of any one else but not from God’s. That while opinion, can be termed its special contributions to ethics.
the world can see man’s onward life, only God probes into
his innermost intentions and desires, that while he may, in 2.6. Distinctive Features of Islamic Moral Order
his short sojourn on this earth, do whatever he likes but in
any event he has to die one day and present himself before By setting Divine pleasure as the objective of man’s life,
the Divine court of justice where no advocacy, favor, rec- it has furnished the highest possible standard of moral-
ommendation, misrepresentation, deception or fraud will ity. This is bound to provide limitless avenues for the
be of any avail and where his future will be decided with moral revolution of humanity. By making Divine Revela-
complete impartiality and justice. There may or may not tion the primary source of knowledge, it gives permanence
be any police, law court or jail in the world to enforce the and stability to the moral standards which afford reason-
observance of these moral injunctions and regulations but able scope for genuine adjustment, adaptations and inno-
this belief firmly rooted in the heart, is the real force at vations though not for perversions, wild variations, atom-
the back of the moral law of Islam which helps in getting istic relativism or moral fluidity. It provides a sanction to
it enforced. If popular opinion and the coercive powers morality in the love the fear of God which will impel man
of the state exist to give it support so much the better; to obey the moral law even without any external pressure.
otherwise, this faith alone can keep a Muslim individual Through belief in God and the Day of Judgment, it fur-

8
nishes a motive force which enables a person to adopt the 3. ISLAMIC POLITICAL SYSTEM
moral conduct with earnestness and sincerity, with all the
devotion of heart and soul. The political system of Islam has been based on
three principles, viz., Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risalat
It does not, through a false sense of originality and in- (Prophethood) and Khilafat (Caliphate). It is difficult to
novation, provide any novel moral virtues nor does it seek appreciate the different aspects of the Islamic policy with-
to minimize the importance of the well-known moral norms out fully understanding these three principles. I will, there-
nor give exaggerated importance to some and neglect oth- fore, begin with a brief exposition of them. Tawheed (One-
ers without cause. It takes up all the commonly known ness) means that one God alone is the Creator, Sustainer
moral virtues and with a sense of balance and proportion and Master of this universe and of all that exists in it or-
it assigns a suitable place and function to each one of them ganic or inorganic. The sovereignty of this kingdom rests
in the total plan of life. It widens the scope of their appli- only in Him. He alone has the right to command or forbid
cation to cover every aspect of man’s individual and collec- Worship and obedience are due to Him alone, none else
tive life his domestic associations, his civic conduct, and his sharing it in any degree or form. Life, in all its multifari-
activities in the political, economic, legal educational and ous forms, our physical organs and faculties, the apparent
social realms. It covers his life from home to society, from control which we have over everything that exists in this
the dining table to the battlefield and peace conferences, universe, and the things themselves none of them has been
literally from the cradle to the grave. In short, no sphere of created or acquired by us in our own right. They are the
life is exempt from the universal and comprehensive appli- bountiful provisions of god and in bestowing them upon
cation of the moral principles of Islam. It makes morality us, no one is as Him. Hence, it is neither for us to de-
reign supreme and ensures that the affairs of life, instead cide the aim and purpose of our existence or to prescribe
of being dominated by selfish desires and petty interests, the limits in our worldly authority nor is anyone else en-
should be regulated by the norms of morality. titled to make these decisions for us. This right vest only
in God Who has created us endowed us with mental and
It stipulates for man a system of life which is based
physical faculties, and provided all material provisions for
on all good and is free from all evil. It invokes the people,
our use. This principle of the Oneness of God altogether
not only to practice virtue, but also to establish virtue and
negates the concept of the legal and political sovereignty
eradicate vice, to bid good and to forbid wrong. It wants
of human begins, individually or collectively. Nothing can
that the verdict of conscience should prevail and virtue
claim sovereignty, be it a human being, a family, a class or
must not be subdued to play second fiddle to evil. Those
group of people, or even the human race in the world as a
who have responded to this call and gathered together into
whole. God alone is the Sovereign and His Commandments
a community (Ummah) are given the name ”Muslim” and
are the Law of Islam.
the singular object underlying the formation of this com-
munity (Ummah) is that it should make an organized effort The medium through which we receive the Law of God
to establish and enforce goodness and suppress and erad- is known as ”Risalat” (Prophet hood). We have received
icate evil. The Qur’an is quite explicit on this fact as can two things from this source:
be seen from the following verse: The Book in which God has expounded His Law; and
The authoritative interpretation and exemplification of the
”Ye are the best for Peoples, evolved For mankind, En- Book of God by the Prophet, through his word and deed,
joining what is right, Forbidding what is wrong, And be- in his capacity as the last messenger of God. The broad
lieving in God. If only the People of the Book Had faith, it principles on which the system of human life should be
were best For them: among them Are some who have faith, based have been stated in the Book of God. Further, the
But most of them Are perverted transgressors.” (Qur’an, Prophet of God has, in accordance with the intention of
3:1 10) the Divine Book, set up for us a model of the system of
life in Islam by practically implementing the law and pro-
And also in the following verse: viding necessary details where required. The combination
”(They are) those who, If we establish them In the land, of these two elements, according to Islamic terminology, is
establish Regular prayer and give Regular charity, enjoin called the ”Shari’ah”. There is a specific purpose for man’s
The right and forbid wrong: With God rests the end (And existence. This purpose is achieved when man fulfills his
decision) of (all) affairs.” (Qur’an, 22:41) function and is missed when man fads to live up to his
designated role. In that case, his life will be barren and
It will be a day of mourning for the community and devoid of any original meaning. Total loss and perdition
a bad day for the entire world if the efforts of this very await everyone who fails to respond to Allah’s call.
community were at anytime directed towards establishing This special role relating man to his Creator is sub-
evil and suppressing good. servience to Allah and worship of Him. All aspects of

9
man’s life are based on this consideration. Thus, the mean- Oneness of God), ”Risalat” (the Prophethood of Muham-
ing of worship must be extended to go beyond mere rituals mad) and ”Khilafat” (the Caliphate).
into all activities since Allah does not only call upon us to The Holy Qur’an clearly states that the aim and pur-
perform rituals but His injunctions regulate all aspects of pose of this state is the establishment, maintenance and
life. The Qur’an develops this theme: development of those virtues, with which the Creator of
”Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ’I will create a this universe wishes the human life to be adorned and the
vicegerent on earth’” (Qur’an 2:30) prevention and eradication of those evils the presence of
It is this Khilafat on earth which encompasses the range which in human life is utterly abhorrent to God. The state
of activities of this human being. It consists in settlement in Islam is not intended for political administration only
on earth, exploration of its resources and energies, fulfill- nor for the fulfillment through it of the collective will of any
ment of Allah’s purpose of making full use of its resources particular set of people; rather, Islam places a high ideal
and developing life on it. In brief this task requires the before the state for the achievement of which, it must use
implementation of Allah’s way which is in harmony with all the means at its disposal. And this purpose is that
the Divine Law governing the whole universe. the qualities of purity, beauty, goodness, virtue, success
Thus, it becomes clear that the meaning of worship, and prosperity which God wants to flourish in the life of
which is the very purpose of man’s existence and his pri- His people, should be engendered and evolved. And that
mary function, is much more comprehensive than mere rit- all kinds exploitation, injustice and disorders which, in he
uals. The role of Khilafat is definitely an integral part of view of God, are ruinous for the world and detrimental
meaning of worship. The truth about worship comes out to the life of His creatures are suppressed and prevented.
in two essential points, namely: Simultaneously, by placing before us this high ideal, Islam
1) There should be a feeling of absolute certainty and gives us a clear outline of its moral system clearly stat-
conviction about the meaning of worship of Allah in one’s ing the desired virtues and the undesirable evils. Keeping
heart; a feeling that the only possible relationship which this outline in view the Islamic state can plan its welfare
holds is one of creator and the created and nothing but program in every age and in any environment.
that. The persistent demand made by Islam is that the prin-
2) It is imperative to turn to Allah dedicating to Him ciples or moral in must be observed at all cost and in all
every stir of one’s conscience, every fluttering of the senses, walks of life. Hence it lays down an unalterable policy for
every movement of life. This dedication should be chan- the state to base its politics on justice, truth and honesty.
neled solely to Him and nobody else. No other feeling It is not prepared, under any circumstance whatsoever, to
should have any room left, except in so far as it is construed tolerate fraud, falsehood and injustice for the sake of any
as part of the meaning of worship of Allah. In this way political, administrative or national expediency. Whether
the meaning of worship is fulfilled. Thus, work becomes it be the mutual relations of the rulers and the ruled within
one with rituals; rituals one with settlement on earth; set- the state, or the relations of the state with other states,
tlement on earth like strive for Allah’s cause; strive in the precedence must always be given to truth, honesty, and
way of Allah like patience in bearing calamities content- justice over material consideration. It imposes similar obli-
edly in the knowledge that they are part of Allah’s plan; gations on the state as on the individual. Viz., to fulfill all
all these are instances of worship of Allah. contracts and obligations, to have uniform measures and
With this healthy frame of mind, based on the right standards for dealings, to remember duties along with the
understanding on man’s role in this universe, man be- rights and not to forget the rights of other when expecting
comes ready to implement Allah’s teaching, as communi- them to fulfill their obligations; to use power and authority
cated through the message of Prophet Muhammad (peace for the establishment of justice and not for the perpetra-
be upon him). tion of injustice; to look upon duty as a sacred obligation
This is exactly what Islam means when it lays down and to fulfill it scrupulously; and to regard power as a trust
that man is Khalifah (servant) of God on the earth. The from God and use it with the belief that one has to render
state that is established in accordance with this political an account of one’s actions to Him in the Hereafter.
theory will have to fulfill the purpose and intent of God
by working on God’s earth within the limits prescribed by 3.2. Fundamental Rights
Him and in conformity with His instructions and injunc-
tions. Although an Islamic state may be set up in any por-
tion of the earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human
3.1. Purpose Of The Islamic State rights or privileges to the geographical limits of its own
state. Islam has laid down some universal fundamental
I shall now place before you a brief outline of the type rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed
of state which is built on the foundation of Tawheed (the and respected under all circumstances whether such a per-

10
son is resident within the territory of the Islamic state conditions must be met for eligibility to membership of
or outside it, whether he is at peace with the state or this body, namely:
at war. Human blood is sacred in any case and cannot Moral credit (piety and moral standards). To be well
be spilled without justification. Its is not permissible to versed in religion so as to be in a position to decide upon
oppress women, children, old people, sick persons or the who deserves the position of Amir. Good and sound judg-
wounded. Woman’s honor and chastity are worthy of re- ment leading to a sharp perception of who is most suit-
spect under all circumstances. The hungry person must be able for the role of Amir. The Amir can retain office only
fed, the naked clothed, and the wounded treated medically so long as he observes Allah’s Shari’ah laws. Being him-
irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic commu- self the primary example of it both in his dealings and
nity or not or even if they are from amongst its enemies. conduct, honoring his commitments and being true to his
These, and a few other provisions have been laid by Islam trust; in brief, he should conform to the conditions orig-
fundamental rights for every man by virtue of his status inally stipulated upon his holding office and will have to
as a human being to be enjoyed under the constitution of vacate his office when he loses this confidence. But as long
an Islamic state. Even the rights of citizenship in Islam as he retains such confidence he will have the authority
are not confined to persons born within the limits of its to govern and exercise the powers of the Government, of
state but are granted to every Muslim irrespective of his course, in consultation with the Shura (the advisory coun-
place of birth. A Muslim ipso facto becomes the citizen of cil) and within the limits set by a Shari’ah. Every citizen
an Islamic state as soon as he sets his foot on its territory will have the right to criticize the Amir should he deviate
with the intent to live therein and thus enjoys equal rights from the straight path, fail to honor the trust laid in him,
of citizenship along with those who acquire its citizenship transgress and tyrannize over people, change his conduct
by birthright. Citizenship has therefore, to be common for the worst, freeze the implementation of Allah’s penal
among all the Islamic states that may exist in the world code, or flouts Allah’s regulations in anyway. If he fails to
and a Muslim will not need any passport for entry in or live up to one of the conditions stipulated for his eligibil-
exit from any of them. And every Muslim is to be regarded ity to the office, the nation has the right to overrule his
as eligible and fit for all positions of the highest responsi- judgment either by correcting him or by deposing them.
bility in an Islamic State without any discussions of race Legislation in an Islamic state will be restricted within
color or class. Islam has also laid down certain rights for the limits prescribed by the law of the Shari’ah. The in-
the non-Muslims who may be living within the boundaries junctions of God and His legislative body can make any
of an Islamic State and these rights must necessarily from alterations or modifications in them or make any law re-
part of the Islamic Constitution. pugnant to them. As for the commandments which are
According to the Islamic terminology such non- liable to two or more interpretations the duty of ascer-
Muslims are Dhimmee (the covenant). implying that the taining the real intent of the Shari’ah, in such cases, will
Islamic state has entered into a covenant with them and devolve on people possessing a specialized knowledge of
guaranteed their protection. The life, property and pro- the law of Shari’ah. Hence, such affairs will have to be
tected exactly life that of a Muslim citizen. There is no referred to a sub committee of the advisory council com-
difference at all between a Muslim and Dhimmee in respect pressing men learned in Islamic Law. A vast field will still
of the civil or criminal law. The Islamic State shall not in- be available for legislation on questions not covered by any
terfere with the personal law of the Dhimmme. They will specific injunctions of the Shari’ah and the advisory coun-
have full freedom of conscience and belief. cil or legislature will be free to legislate in regard to these
matters.
3.3. Executive And Legislative In Islam the judiciary is not placed under the control
of the executive. It derives its authority directly from the
The responsibility for the administration of the Govern- Shari’ah and is answerable to God. The judges, no doubt
ment, in an Islamic state, is entrusted to an Amir (leader can be appointed by the Government but once a judge
or chief) who may be likened to the President or the Prime has occupied the bench he will have to administer jus-
Minister in the conventional democratic state. tice among the people according to the law of God in an
The basic qualifications for the election of an Amir are impartial manner. The organs and functionaries of the
that he should command the confidence of the ABLUL Government will not be outside his legal jurisdiction much
HAL WAL’AQD [The Constitutional Body). so that even the highest executive authority of the Gov-
They are recruited from among the scholars (of Islam), ernment is liable to be called upon to appear in a court
leaders, and notables who effectively have the duty to carry of law as a plaintiff or defendant like any other citizen of
out this task of appointing the ruler. In this, they do not the state. Rulers and the ruled are subject to the same
act on their own personal preferences, but on behalf of the law and there can be no discrimination on the basis of
whole nation, being as they are, its representatives. Three position, power or privilege. Islam stands for equality and

11
scrupulously sticks to this principle in social, economic and nity will have the same rights and social status. They will
political realms alike. not be subjected to any racial, national or class distinct of
any kind. No one will be regarded as high or low. There
4. ISLAMIC SOCIAL ORDER will be no untouchable among them, nor could be polluted
by the touch of anyone’s hand. There will be no handicaps
The foundations of the social system of Islam rest on for them in the matter of marital relations, eating and
the belief that all human beings are equal and constitute drinking and social contacts. None will be looked down
one single fraternity. upon as lowly or mean by reason of his birth or profession.
Nobody will claim any distinctive rights by virtue of his
caste, community or ancestry. Man’s merit will not depend
4.1. Equality Of Mankind
on his family connections or riches, but only on whether
God created a human pair to herald the beginning of he is better than others in moral conduct or excels others
the life of mankind on earth and all the persons inhabit- in piety and righteousness.
ing this world today have sprung from this pair. For some Such a social order, out-stepping the geographical
time in the initial stages the progeny of this pair remained boundaries and limits of race, color and language as it
a single group. It had one religion and spoke the same lan- does, can spread itself in all parts of the world and on its
guage. There were little or no difference among them. But foundations can be raised the edifice of the universal broth-
as their numbers gradually increased, their diversification erhood of men. In societies based on race or nationality,
and growth were divided into various tribes, and nation- only those people can join who belong to a particular race
alities. Their languages became different; their modes of or country and the door is closed in the face of those who
dress varied; and their manners of living also became dis- do not belong to them. But in Ns highly principled soci-
tinct from one another. ety anyone who accepts the creed and its moral standard
All these differences are said to be signs from Allah. can become its member, possessing equal rights with ev-
They do exist in the world of reality. Hence, Islam rec- eryone else. As for those who do not accept this creed, the
ognizes them as matters of fact. It does not seek to wipe community, while it cannot receive them within its fold, is
them out or to ignore them but affirms that their advan- prepared within the limits laid down by law and decency.
tage consists in affording the only possible means of dis- To give them all the basic human rights on condition that
tinguishing one form the other. But the prejudices which they are from the people of the Book or those who are
have arisen among mankind out of these differences in the classified under their category.
shape of groupings and organizations based on race, color, After appreciating these foundations of Islamic social
language, nationality, etc., are disapproved by Islam. Is- order, we would like to cast a glance over the principles and
lam regards all distinctions of birth, of high and low amen, patterns of social relationship which have been fostered by
of upper and lower classes, on natives of the soil and aliens Islam.
as the manifestation of their ignorance. It declares that all
men in the world have sprung from the same parents and 4.2. The Institution Of Family
therefore, are equal in their status as human beings.
After propounding this concept of equality of mankind, The foremost and fundamental institution of human
Islam adds that if there can be any real difference between society is the unit of family. A family is established by
man and man it cannot be one of race, color, country or the coming together of a man and a woman, and their
but one of their relationship with their Creator. The most contact brings into existence a new generation. It then
honored of people in the sight of God is the most righ- produces ties of kinship and community, which gradually
teous. On the basis of this fundamental tenet, Islam seeks develop into a large society. The family is the institution
to build principled society as against the racial, national through which a generation prepares the succeeding gen-
and parochial societies existing in the world. The basis of eration for the service of human civilization and for the
cooperative effort among men in such a society is not one’s discharge of its social obligations with devotion, sincerity
birth but a creed an a moral principle. Any one, if he be- and enthusiasm. This institution does not merely recruit
lieves in God as his Master and Lord and accepts the guid- cadets for the maintenance and development of human de-
ance of the prophets (the essence of which is embodied in sire that those who have to replace them in future should
Islam, the message of the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be better than themselves. In this respect, the family can
be upon him)) as the law of his life, can join this commu- be truly called the fountain-head of the progress, devel-
nity, whether he is a resident of America or Africa whether opment, prosperity and strength of human civilization on
he belongs to the Semitic race or the Aryan; whether he is the earth. Hence, among social problems Islam devotes
black in color or white skinned; whether he speaks a Euro- much attention to those relating to the family and strives
pean language or Arabic. All those who join this commu- to establish this important social unit on the healthiest

12
and strongest foundations. According to Islam the correct behave accordingly to their parents. Islam does not favor
form of relationship between man and woman is marriage, a loose and disjointed family system which is devoid of any
that is, the one in which full social responsibilities are un- authority, control and discipline and in which someone is
dertaken by them and which results in the emergence of not pointedly responsible of the proper conduct and be-
a family. Free sex-license and irresponsible behavior are havior of its members. Discipline can only be maintained
not condoned by Islam as innocent pastimes or ordinary through a central authority and in the view of Islam the
transgressions. Rather, they are acts which strike at the position of father in the family is such that it makes him
very roots of human society. Hence, Islam holds every the fittest person to take over this responsibility. But this
form of extra matrimonial sex-relationship as sinful, for- does not mean that man has been made a tyrant and op-
bidden (Haram) and punishable under the criminal law of pressor in the household and woman has been handed over
Islam. It prescribes severe punishments for the offense so to him as a helpless chattel. According to Islam the real
that such unsociable behavior may not become common. spirit of marital life is love, understanding and mutual re-
At the same time it aims at purifying and purging the so- spect. If the woman has been asked to obey the husband,
ciety of all activities which encourage such irresponsible the latter has been called upon to exercise his privileges
actions or provide opportunities for them. Regulations of towards the welfare of the family and treat the wife with
Hijab (For Muslim Women), ban on free mixing of men love, affection and sweetness. It makes the marital bond
and women, restrictions on filthy music and pictures, and strong but not unbreakable. It aims at keeping the bond
discouragement of the spread and propagation of obsceni- intact only so long as it is founded on the sweetness of love
ties and aberrations, are all intended to guard against this. or at least the possibility of lasting companionship still ex-
Their sole object is to protect and strengthen the institu- ists. When this possibility dies out, it gives man the right
tion of the family. Islam does not merely regard the de- of divorce and woman the right of separation, and under
sirable form of social contact as just permissible but holds certain conditions where married life has become a source
and affirms it as a good and virtuous act, indeed, an act of misery or nuisance, gives the Islamic courts of justice
of worship. It does not simply look upon celibacy of an the authority to annul the marriage.
adult person with disfavor, but it calls upon every young
man to take in his turn upon himself the social responsi-
4.3. Relatives And Neighbors
bilities of married life just as his parents did so in their
time. Islam does not merely regard asceticism and per- Beyond the limited circle of family the next social
petual celibacy as no virtue at all but as aberrations and sphere which is sufficiently wide is that of kinship and
departures from the true nature of man and acts of revolt blood relationship. Those who are one’s kith and kin
against the Divine plan of things. It also strongly disap- through relationship with common parents or common
proves those rites, ceremonies or restrictions which tend to brothers and sisters or relations through in-laws, Islam
make marriage a difficult and tedious affair. The intention wants them all to be mutually affectionate, cooperative
of Islam is that marriage may become easy and fornication and helpful. In many places in the Qur’an good treat-
the most difficult thing in society, and not vice versa as it ment of the Zawil Qurba (near relatives) is enjoined. In
is in most of the societies today. Hence, after debarring a the traditions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)
few specified relatives from entering into matrimony with good treatment of one’s (Silat Al-Rahm) has been empha-
one another, it has legalized marital relations with all other sized and counted among the highest virtues. A person
near and distant kith and kin. It has removed all distinc- who cold-shoulders his relatives or treat them an indiffer-
tions of caste and community and permitted matrimony of ent manner is looked down upon by Islam with great disfa-
any Muslim with any other Muslim. It has recommended vor. But this does not mean that it is an Islamic virtue to
that the amounts of Mehr (dower) should be fixed at a low be partial or unduly lenient toward one’s relatives as may
and easy figure, the burden of which can be easily borne by result in injustice, is repugnant to Islam which, condemns
the husband and has dispensed with the necessity of priests it as an act of Jahiliyyah (ignorance). Similarly, it is ut-
and offices of compulsory registration. In an Islamic soci- terly un-Islamic for a government official or public trustee
ety marriage is such a plain and simple ceremony as can to support his at public expense or to be partial to his
be performed anywhere before two witnesses, though it is kith and kin in his official divisions: his would actually be
essential that the proceedings should not be kept secret. a sinful act. Fair treatment of one’s as enjoined by Islam,
The idea is that the society should know that the couple is should be at one’s own expenses and within the limits of
now going to live a matrimonial life. The family itself Islam justice and fair play.
has assigned to man a position of authority so that he may Next to relations come the neighbors. The Qur’an has
maintain order and disciple, as the chief of the household. divided them into three categories :
Islam expects the wife to obey and look after the comforts A neighbor who is also a relative; An alien neighbor;
and well- being of her husband and expects the children and A casual or temporary neighbor with whom one had

13
occasion to live or travel for some time. All of them are de- your children take it out to excite thereby the anger of his
serving of fellow- feeling, affection, courtesy and fair treat- children.
ment. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: On one occasion the Prophet (peace be upon him) said
Ayesha and Ibn Omar reported from the Messenger of that a man is really good if his neighbors regard him as
Allah who said; Gabriel did not stop to advice me about such and he is bad if they consider him so. The complete
neighbor till I thought that he would soon make him an Hadith goes as follows:
heir. - (Agreed upon) Ibn Mas’ud reported that a man asked the Holy
In another tradition the Prophet (peace be upon him) Prophet: O Messenger of Allah! how can I know when
said: I do good and when I do bad? The Holy Prophet (peace
Abu Hureira reported from the Messenger of Allah who be upon him) said: When you hear your neighbors say -
said: ”By Allah he does not believe, by Allah he does not you have done good, you have done good, and when you
believe, by Allah he does not believe”. The companions hear them say - you have done bad, you have done bad.
asked who is he O Prophet of Allah? The Holy Prophet (Narrated by Ibn Majah)
(peace be upon him) replied, ”One whose neighbor is not In brief, Islam requires all neighbors to be loving and
immune against his mischief”. cooperative with one another and share one another’s sor-
Again, he (peace be upon him) said: that a person who rows and happiness. It enjoins that they should establish
enjoys a full meal while his neighbor is starving really pos- social relations in which one could depend upon the other
sesses no faith in Islam. The Prophet was once informed and regard his life, honor and property safe among his
of a woman who used to offer prayers regularly and keep neighbors. A society in which two persons, separated only
fasts very often and gives alms frequently, but her neigh- by a wall, remain unacquainted with one another for years
bors were sick of her abusive tongue. The Prophet (peace and those living in the same area of a town have no interest
be upon him) said that woman deserved only the fire of or confidence in one another can never be called Islamic.
hell. He was also told of another woman who did not pos- Next to these is the wider circle of relationship which
sess these virtues but did not trouble her neighbors either, covers the entire society. The broad principles on which
and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that she will be Islam seeks to regulate the general gamut of our social life
rewarded with paradise. are the following:
The complete sayings goes as follows: To cooperate in acts of virtue and piety and not to co-
Abu Hurairah reported that a man asked: O Messen- operate in acts of sin and injustice. To this point Allah
ger of Allah! such and such a woman is reputed for such says in the Holy Qur’an:
prayer, and fasting and alms- giving, but she offends her
”Help ye one another In righteousness and piety, But
neighbors with her tongue. He said: She will go to Hell. He
help ye not one another In sin and rancor: Fear God: for
inquired: O Messenger of Allah! such and such a woman
God Is strict in punishment.” ( Quran 5:2 )
is reputed less for her fasting, alms- giving and prayer but
”One’s friendship and enmity should be for the plea-
she gives alms of the remainders of curds and she does not
sure of God only; whatever you (Muslim) give should be
offend her neighbors by her tongue. He said: She will go
given because God likes it to be given, and whatever you
to Paradise. (Narrated by Ahmed and Bayhaqi)
(Muslims) withhold should be withheld because God does
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has laid so much em-
not like its gift. (Sayings of the Holy Prophet).
phasis on this virtue that he has advised that whenever a
Muslim brings fruits for his children he should either send ”You (the Muslims) are the best community ever raised
some to his neighbors as a gift or at least not throw the unto mankind, your duty is to command people to do good
peelings outside the door so that the neighbors may not and prevent them from committing evil.”
have a feeling of deprivation. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
The complete Hadith reads as follows: ”Ye are the best Of Peoples, evolved For mankind, En-
Amr Ibn Shueib who reproved from his father who re- joining what is right, Forbidding what is wrong, And be-
proved from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah lieving in God. If only the People of the Book Had faith, it
said narrated it: ”Do you know what the duties of a neigh- were best For them: among them are some who have faith,
bor are?” Help him if he seeks your help, give him succor But most of them are perverted transgressors.” (Qur’an
if he seeks your succor, give him loan if he seeks you loan, 3:110)
give him relief if he is needy, nurse him if he falls ill, fol- And the Prophet in various of his other teachings said:
low his bier if he dies, cheer him if he meets any good, ”Do not think evil of each other nor probe into each
sympathize with him if any calamity befalls him, raise not other’s affairs nor excite one against the other. Keep your-
your building higher so as to obstruct his air without his self away from mutual hatred and jealousy. Do not unnec-
permission, harass him not, give him when you purchase essarily oppose each other. Always remain the slaves and
a fruit, if you do not do it, take it secretly; and let not subjects of Allah and live like brothers among yourselves.”

14
”Choose for others what you choose for yourself. ” of these things for commercial purposes can be required
(Agreed upon) to pay taxes to the state. Or if there is a misuse of the
These are some of the social values which Islam affirms resources, the Government may step in and set the things
and establishes and which it wants to see enshrined in the right. But there is no bar on the individuals to avail of
human society. God’s earth as long as they do not interfere with the rights
of others or of the state.
5. ECONOMICS PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM Anyone who takes possession of the natural resources
directly and renders it of value acquires a rightful title over
Islam has laid down some principles and prescribed cer- it. For instance, if somebody takes possession of an uncul-
tain limits for the economic activity of man so that the tivated piece of land, on which nobody has a prior right
entire pattern of production, exchange and distribution of ownership, and makes a productive use of it he cannot
of wealth may conform to the Islamic standard of justice be arbitrarily dispossessed of that piece of land. This is
and equity. Islam does not concern itself with time-bound how a rights of ownership originated in the world. When
methods and techniques of economic production or with man appeared for the first time in the world and popu-
the details of the pattern and mechanisms and equity. Is- lation grew, everything was available to everyone. And
lam does not concern itself with time- bound methods and whoever took possession of anything and made it useful
techniques of economic production or with the details of in any manner became its owner; that is to say, he ac-
the organizational pattern and mechanisms. Such meth- quired the right of using it specially for his own purpose
ods are specific for every age and are evolved in accordance and obtaining compensation from others if they wanted to
with the needs and requirements of community and exigen- use it. This is the natural basis of all the economic ac-
cies of the economic situation. What Islam aims, is that tivities of mankind and must not be tampered with. This
whatever be the form or mechanism of economic activity, right of ownership which one may acquire by permissible
the principles prescribed by it should find a permanent and legal means is to be honored under all circumstances. The
paramount place in such activities under all circumstances legality of ownership can be inquired thoroughly by the
and in all ages. competent authority through legal means to determine its
According to the Islamic point of view, God has created validity in accordance with the Shari’ah law. If, it be found
for mankind the earth and all that it contains. It is, there- to be illegally acquired, such ownership be annulled and be
fore, the birthright of every human being to try and secure terminated accordingly. However, in no case, shall there
his share out of the world. All men enjoy this right equally be allowed any state or legislation to arbitrarily divest the
and none can be deprived of it. Nor should one man get people of their legitimate rights of ownership without jus-
precedence over another. From the standpoint of Islam, tifiable cause. Islam cannot approve of an economic policy
there can be no bar on any individual, race, or class for which destroys the rights conferred by the Shari’ah how-
taking to certain means of livelihood or adopting certain ever attractive its name may be and whatever welfare pre-
professions. All are entitled to equal opportunities in the tensions it may make. Social justice and collective good
economic realm. Similarly, no distinction is valid in Islam are very dear to Islam, but not at the cost of rights given
which would result in creating a monopoly of a particular by the Shari’ah. It is as unjust to reduce or remove the re-
means of livelihood for a particular person, class, race or strictions placed by the Shari’ah on the rights of individual
group of people. It is the right of all men to strive and get ownership for the sake of collective good of the community
their share of the means of sustenance provided by God on as it is to add such restrictions and limitations which do
the earth. Islam ensures that this effort should be made in not fit into the scheme of the Islamic law. It is one of the
the context of equal opportunities and fair chances for all. duties of an Islamic state to protect the legal (Shari’ah)
rights of the individuals and to ensure that they fulfill their
obligations to the community as enjoined by law. That is
5.1. Right Of Property
how Islam strikes a balance between individualism and col-
Resources which are provided by nature free of cost and lectivism.
which can be use directly by man may be utilized freely
and every one is entitled to benefit from them to the ex- 5.2. The Problem Of Equality
tent of his needs. Water flowing in the rivers and springs,
woods in the forest trees, fruits of wild plants, wild grass If we observe the phenomena of nature and God’s bless-
and fodder, air, animals of the jungle, minerals under the ings unto mankind we find that He has not observed equal-
surface of the earth and similar other resources cannot be ity in the distribution of His bounties and favors but in His
monopolized by anyone. Nor can a restriction of any sort infinite wisdom has accorded precedence to some individ-
be imposed on their free use by God’s creatures to fulfill uals over others. Beauty of form, pleasantness of voice,
their own needs. Of course, people who many want to use excellence of physique and mental talents, etc, have not

15
been granted to men in equal degree. The same is the 5.3. Social Justice
case with the material means of life. Human nature has
been so ordained that divergence, variety and inequality Islam does not wish that this economic race takes place
among men in their modes and standards of living seem to in an atmosphere of cold impartiality, moral neutrality and
be most natural thing. Variety is the spice of life and the social apathy. it deems it desirable that the participants
driving spirit behind human effort and excellence. Conse- in the economic race should be considerate and sympa-
quently, all those schemes and ideologies which are forced thetic to one another. On the one hand, Islam through
to mankind are unrealistic and impossible to achieve. The its moral injunctions, aims at creating a feeling of mutual
equality in which Islam believes is equality in respect of love and affection among the people. Under which they
the opportunities of struggle for securing a livelihood and may help their weak and weary brethren and at the same
for climbing the uppermost rung of the ladder of well-being time create a permanent institution in the society to guar-
and prosperity. antee help and assistance to those who are lacking in the
necessary means of subsistence. People who are unable to
Islam desires that no legal, functional or traditional take part in the economic race should secure their share
handicaps should exist in society, to prevent an individual from this social institution. And those who need some
from struggling for a living according to his capacity and assistance commence their struggle in the economic field
talent nor should any social distinctions subsist with the may also receive it in full measure from this institution.
object of safeguarding the privileges of a particular class, To this end, Islam has commanded that Zakat should be
race and dynasty or group of people. And those schemes levied at the rate of 2.5% per annum on the total accu-
and ideologies which serve the vested interests or which mulated wealth of the country as well as on the invested
want to perpetrate the hold of a certain group are repug- capital. On agricultural produce 10% are levied on lands
nant to Islam and can have no place in its scheme of things. which are irrigated by natural means (through rains) and
Such movements seek to establish, through force and resort 5% on irrigation’s which require man’s efforts. And 2.5%
to artificial means, an unnatural inequality in place of the is required on mineral products. The annual Zakat should
natural limited inequality which feeds the springs of incen- also be levied at a specified rate, on the herds of cattle
tive to effort in a society. Hence, Islam aims at wiping them owned by anyone beyond a certain minimum number. The
out and putting the economic system on the natural foot- amount of Zakat thus collected is to be spent on giving
ing so that the opportunities of struggle may remain open assistance to the poor, the orphans and the indigent, etc.
to all. At the same time Islam does not agree with those This provides a men’s of social insurance in the presence of
who desire to enforce complete equality in respect of the which no one in an Islamic society can ever remain without
mean of production and the fruits of economic endeavor, being well provided with the necessities of life. No worker
as they aim at replacing, limited natural inequalities by an can ever be forced through fear of star to accept any con-
artificial equality. ditions of employment which may be dictated to him by
the industrialist or the landlord to his disadvantage. And
Only that system can be the nearest to human nature nobody’s physical health can ever be allowed to fail below
in which everyone joins the economic struggle at the start the minimum standard of fitness for lake of proper medical
and in the circumstances in which God has created him. care and hospitalization.
He, who has inherited an airplane should struggle to be With regards to the position of the individual, vis--vis
equipped with it; while he who has only a pair of legs the community, Islam aims at striking such a balance be-
should stand on his feet and try to move ahead. The laws tween them as it would promote the individual liberty of
of society should neither establish a permanent monopoly a person and at the same time ensure that such freedom
of the airplane owner over his airplane and make it impos- is not detrimental to the interests of the community as a
sible for the bare-footed to acquire an airplane nor such whole. But is positively conducive to its growth and tran-
that the race for everyone of them should compulsory be- quility. Islam does not approve of a political or economic
gin from one point. And under the same conditions and organization which aims at merging the identity of the in-
they should all per force be tied to each other right till the dividual into that of the community and depriving him
end of the race. Contrary to this the economic laws should of the freedom essential for a proper development of his
be such as to make it possible for the bare-footed who personality and talent. The inevitable consequence of na-
started his race under adverse conditions, to secure and tionalizing all the means of production in a country is the
possess an airplane if he can do so by dint of his struggle annihilation of the individual by the community, and in
and ability. And for him who inherited the airplane, to these circumstances the existence and development of his
be left behind in the race and be without it if that is due individuality becomes extremely difficult, if not impossi-
to his own inability or incapacity or inefficiency. Effort ble. Just as political and social freedom is essential for the
should be paid and inactivity penalized. individual, economic freedom is likewise indispensable for

16
civilized moral existence. Unless we desire to completely compensation for it.
eliminate the individuality of man, our social life should Islam accepts the rights of ownership of an individ-
have enough margin for an individual to be freedom to earn ual the rights of ownership of an individual over the
his living, to maintain the freedom of his conscience, and wealth earned by him by legitimate means but even these
to be able to develop his moral and intellectual faculties rights are not unqualified. A man can spend his legiti-
according to his own inclinations and aptitudes. Living on mate wealth, only in legitimate avenues and by legitimate
a dole or virtual dole at the hands of others cannot be very means. Islam has imposed restrictions on expenditure so
satisfying. Even though it is plentiful because the retarda- that while one can lead a decent life, one cannot waste one’s
tion of mental, moral and spiritual development to which riches on luxurious pursuits. A person cannot transgress
it ultimately leads can never be compensated or counter- the prescribed limits of exhibiting his status and affluence
balanced by mere physical welfare and prosperity which and behave as super being vis--vis other persons. Certain
too are doubtful. forms of illegal and wasteful expenditure have been clearly
Just as Islam does not like such a system, it also does and unequivocally prohibited while some others, though
not favor a social system which gives unbridled economic not expressly banned, may be prohibited at the discretion
and social freedom to individuals and gives them a blank of the Islamic state.
check to secure their individual interest and achieve their One is permitted to accumulate wealth that is left over
objective even at the whole or by exploiting and misappro- after meeting his legitimate and reasonable requirements,
priating the wealth of others. Between these two extremes and these savings can also be used in producing more
Islam has adopted the middle course according to which wealth but there are some restrictions on both of these
the individual is first called upon, in the interest of the activities. In the event of accumulation of wealth he will,
community, to accept certain restricts, and is then left free of course, have to pay Zakat at the rate of 2.5% per annum
to regulate his own affairs. He has freedom of enterprise on the accumulation exceeding the specified minimum. If
and competition within a framework which guarantees the he desires to invest it in business he can only do so in
good of both the individual and the society. It is not possi- what is declared as legitimate business. It is permissible
ble to explain all these obligations and restrictions in detail for a man to undertake the legitimate business himself or
and I shall, therefore, content myself with presenting a bare to make his capital available to others on a profit-loss shar-
outline of them. ing basis. It is not at all objectionable in Islam if, working
with in these li, a man becomes even a millionaire; rather,
5.4. Obligations And Restrictions this will constitute a Divine favor. But in the interests
of the community as a whole Islam imposes two condi-
Take the case of earning a livelihood first. The meticu- tions on the individual; first, that he should pay Zakat on
lous care with which Islam has distinguished between right his commercial goods and ’Ushr (1/10) (which has not re-
and wrong in respect of the means of earning wealth is not quired any man effort for irrigation) and 5% on irrigated
to be found in any other legal and social system existing produce which has required man’., efforts of the value of
in the world. It condemns as illegal all those means of agricultural produce, secondly, that he should deal fairly
livelihood which injure, morally or materially, the inter- and honestly with those whom he brings into his part-
ests of another individual or of the society as a whole. nership in trade industry or agriculture, with those whom
Islamic law categorically rejects as illegal the manufac- he takes in his employment and with the state and the
ture and sale of liquor and other intoxication, adultery, community at large. If one doe: not do justice to others,
professional dancing and obscenity, gambling, speculation, particularly his employees, of his own accord, the Islamic
race and lotteries, transactions of speculative, imaginary, state will compel him to do so.
fraudulent or controversial nature; business transactions Then again, even wealth that is accumulated within
in which the gain of one party is absolutely guaranteed these legal limits is not allowed by Islam to be concen-
and assured while that of the other party is left uncertain trated at a point or place for a long time. By virtue of
and doubtful; price manipulation by withholding the sale its of inheritance Islam spreads it over a large number of
of necessities of life; and many other similar transactions persons from generation to generation. In this respect, the
which are detrimental to the interests of community. If we spirit of Islamic law is different from that of other laws
examine this aspect of the economic laws of Islam, we will prevailing in the contemporary world. Most of the inheri-
find a long list of practices declared illegal most of which tance laws attempt to keep the wealth once accumulated by
can and are making people millionaires in the capitalistic a person concentrated in the hands of the beneficiary from
system. Islam forbids all these unfair means and allows generation to generation. As against this, Islam has made
freedom of earning wealth only by those means through a law under which the wealth accumulated by a person in
which a person renders some real and useful service to the his lifetime is distributed among all of his near relatives
community and thereby entities himself to a fair and just soon after his death. If, there are no near relatives, then

17
distant relatives are to benefit from it in the proportions solitary places, as ideal places for spiritual development
laid down by the law for each one of them. And, if no dis- because in those hideouts the hustle and bustle of civi-
tant relative is forthcoming, then the entire Muslim society lization would not interfere in their spiritual practices and
is entitled to its inheritance. Under this law, the creation nose- gazing meditations. They could not conceive of the
or continuance of any big family of capitalists or landlords feasibility of any means of spiritual development except by
becomes impossible. withdrawing themselves from the world and its affairs and
severing all contacts with society and civilization.
6. THE SPIRITUAL SYSTEM OF ISLAM This conflict of body and soul resulted in the evolution
of two different ideals for the perfection of man. One of
What is the spiritual system of Islam and what is its the ideals was of material perfection, which meant that a
relation with the system of life as a whole? To understand man should be surrounded by all the material comforts and
this, it is necessary to carefully study the difference be- bounties of the world and regard himself as nothing but an
tween the Islamic concept of spirituality and that of other animal, the ideal being the seek dizzy heights in this realm.
religions and ideologies. In the absence of a clear under- The result was that he could exceed as an animal but the
standing of this difference, it often happens that when talk- man in him could not seek its flowering. Men learned to fly
ing about the spiritual system of Islam, many of the vague like birds, swim like crocodile, run like horses and even ter-
notions associated with the word ”spiritual” unconsciously rorize and destroy like wolves - but to live like noble human
come to one’s mind, and in this state of confusion, it be- beings they learned not. The other ideal was of the per-
comes difficult for one to comprehend the spiritual system fection of spiritual life to an extent that the senses are not
of Islam which is not only transcends the due of spirit and only subdued and conquered but supra sensory powers are
matter but is the nucleus of the integrated and unified awakened and the limitations of the sensory world are done
concept of life presented by Islam. away with. With these new conquests men could distant
voices like powerful wireless sets, see remote objects as one
does with the telescope and develop powers through which
6.1. Body - Soul Conflict
the mere touch of their hand or focus of their sight may
The idea which has been most influential in making heal the unhealable. This supra sensory field has been the
the climate of thought in philosophy and religion is that other avenue of human advancement, but how throbbing
body and soul are mutually antagonistic and conflicting human this really is not difficult to visualize!
and hence, they cannot go together in life, and one can The Islamic viewpoint differs radically from that of all
develop only at the cost of the other. For the soul, the the prevailing religious and philosophical systems in this
confines of body and matter are a prison-house; the mun- regard. According to Islam, God has appointed man as
dane activities of worldly life are the shackles with which his ”Khalifah” (trustee) in the universe. He has invested
the soul is kept in bondage and its growth is arrested. Ms him with certain authority and laid upon him certain re-
has inevitably led to the well-known concept of classifying sponsibilities and obligations for the fulfillment of which He
the universe into the spiritual and the secular. Those who has endowed him with the best and most suitable physical
chose the secular path were convinced, at the very outset, frame. The body has been created with the sole object
that the demands of spirituality could not be complied that the soul should make use of it in the exercise of its
with, and thus, went headlong into a sensate outlook in authority and the fulfillment of its duties and responsibili-
life culminating in stark materialism and hedonism. Con- ties. Hence, the body is not a prison house for the soul but
sequently, all spheres of worldly activities may they be so- its workshop or factory, and if there is any possibility for
cial, political, economic or cultural were deprived of the the growth and development of the soul, it is only through
light of spirituality and the world was smitten with injus- the use of the power machines and instruments provided
tice and tyranny. On the other hand, those who wanted by this workshop.
to tread the path of spiritual excellence innovated such Consequently, this world is not a place of punishment
ways and devices for the development and elevation of the in which the human soul has been confined somehow but
spirit, as to make them ”noble outcasts” in this world. is a field in which God has sent him to work and do his
They believed that it was not possible to find any pro- duty toward Him. Innumerable things in this universe have
cess for spiritual growth which might be compatible with been placed at the disposal of the human soul and many
a normal life in this world. In their view, physical self- more human beings endowed with it have been created in
denial and mortification’s of the flesh were necessary for this world to fulfill the duties of this very vicegerent. The
developing and perfecting the spirit. They invented spiri- natural urges of man have given birth to civilization, cul-
tual exercises and their ascetic practices which would kill ture, and social systems. The spiritual development which
one’s physical desires and render the body senseless and is possible in this world should not take the form of man
even useless. They regarded forests, mountains and other turning his face from the workshop and retiring in some

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uninhabited comer. Rather, the only form it should take of religion will work with greater enthusiasm than a secu-
is that man should live and work in it and give the best lar minded person. The man of religion will be as active
account of himself. It is in the nature of an examination as the seeker after the world or indeed much more active,
center for him; every aspect and sphere of life is, as it were, in the domestic and social functions of life which extend
like a question paper in this test; the home, the fan3ily, the from the confines of the household to the market square
neighborhood, the society, the or the venue of international conferences. Of course, what
Market place, the office, the factory, the school, the law will distinguish their course of action will be the nature
courts, the police station, the parliament, the peace con- of their relations with God and the objective which they
ference and the battlefield, all represent ’question papers’ pursue. Whatever a religious man does, will be with the
on different subjects which man has been called upon to feeling that he is answerable to God, with the object of
answer. If he does not take any question paper, or leaves securing Divine Pleasure, and I accordance with the Law
most of the answer books blank, he is bound to fail in the which God ha ordained for him. As against this, a worldly
examination. The only possibility of such and development person will be irresponsible, indifferent towards God and
would lie in man’s spending his whole time and giving his will be guided only by his person,, motives in his actions.
whole attention to this examination and to attempt as far This difference make the whole of the material life of a man
as possible to answer all the question papers handed over of religion a thoroughly spiritual venture and the whole of
to him. the life of a worldly person devoid o the spark of spiritual-
Islam rejects and condemns the asceticism of life, and ity.
proposes a set of methods and processes for the spiritual
development of man not outside this world but inside it, 6.3. Road To Spirituality
one that passes through the rough and tumble of life. Ac-
cording to it the real place for the growth, uplift and eleva- Now, we are in a position to briefly understand the road
tion of the spirit lies right in the midstream of the activity which Islam chalks out for the pursuit of spiritual devel-
of life and not in solitary places of spiritual hibernation. opment of man in the context of the mundane life in this
world.
The first step in this direction is Iman (faith). It means
6.2. Criterion For Moral Development
that the idea which should hold supreme in the mind and
After this exposition of the basic approach of Islam heart of a man is that God alone is his Master, Sovereign
let us try to discuss the criterion given by Islam to judge and Deity; seeking His Pleasure is the aim of all his endeav-
the development of decay of the soul. The answer to this ors; and His Commands alone constitute the law of his life.
question lies in the concept of Khilafat which has just been This should be his firm conviction, not merely cognition of
mentioned. In capacity as the Khalifah (Servant) of God, the intellect, but also of the will. The stronger and deeper
man is answerable to Him for all his activities. It is his this conviction, the more profound the faith will be, and
duty to use 0 the powers with which he is invested and it will enable man to tread the path of spiritual devel-
all the means placed at his disposal in this world, in ac- opment with patience and steadfastness and face all the
cordance with the Divine Will. He should utilize to the vicissitudes firmly and squarely.
fullest extent all the faculties and potentialities bestowed The second stage is of Ita’at (obedience) meaning that
upon him for seeking the approbation of God. In his deal- a man divests himself of his independence altogether, and
ings with other human beings he should adopt an attitude accepts subservience to God in practice after having pro-
which is approved by God. In brief, all his efforts and claimed faith in Him as his creed. The subservience is
energies should be directed towards regulating the affairs called Islam (obedience) in the language of the Qur’an.
of this world in the manner in which God wants them to Thus, it means that man should not only acknowledge God
be regulated. The more admirably an man performs this as his Lord and Sovereign but should actually submit be-
function, with a sense of responsibility, obedience and hu- fore Him and fashion his entire life in obedience to the
mility, and with the object of seeking the pleasure of God, Lord.
the nearer he will be to God. In Islam, spiritual develop- The third stage is that of Taqwa (piety) which consists
ment is synonymous with nearness to God. Likewise, he in the practical manifestation of the faith in God in the
will remain away from God if he is lazy, slothful, trans- mode of daily life.
gressor, rebellious and disobedient. And being away from Taqwa (piety) also consists in desisting from everything
God signifies, in Islam, the spiritual fall and decay of man. which God has forbidden or even that which he disapproves
This explanation should make it clear that from the even slightly, in a readiness to undertake all that God has
Islamic point of view the sphere of activity of a religious- commanded and in observing the distinction between law-
minded man and of a secular-minded man is the same. ful and unlawful, right and wrong, and good and bad in
Both will work in the same field of action; rather a man life.

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The last and the highest stage is that of Ihsan, (bene- tals. The first is prayer (Salat) which brings man into
diction) which signifies that man has identified his will with communion with God five times a day, reviving His remem-
the Will of God. And has brought it, at least as far as he brance, reiterating His fear, developing His love, reminding
is concerned, completely in tuned with the Divine Will, man of the Divine Commands again and again, and thus,
with the result that he has begun to like what is liked by preparing him for obedience to God. These prayers are
the Lord and to abhor what is disapproved by Him. Man not to be offered individually but it is obligatory to offer
should then, not only himself avoid the evils which God them in congregation so that the whole community and
does not like to spread on His earth, but should use all the society may be prepared for this process of spiritual
his power and energy to wipe them off the face of earth; development. It is a tool of individual as well as social
and he should not merely rest content with adoring himself training in the path of spiritual elevation in Islam.
with the virtues which God desires to flourish, but should The second is Zakat which develops the sense of mone-
also strive to establish and propagate them in the world tary sacrifice, sympathy and cooperation among Muslims.
even at the cost of his life. A man who reaches this state There are people who wrongly interpret Zakat as a mere
attains the highest pinnacle of spirituality and is nearest tax although the spirit underlying Zakat is entirely differ-
to God. ent from that which lies at the root of a tax. The real
This path of spiritual development is not meant for meaning of Zakat is sublimity and purification. By using
individuals only but for the communities and nations this word, Islam desires to impress on man the real value
as well. Like individuals, community also, after pass- of Zakat which is inspired by a true love of God, that the
ing through the various stages of spiritual elevation, may monetary help he renders to his brethren will in fact, pu-
reach the ultimate stage of Ihsan (benediction), and also rity and benefit his soul.
a state with all its administrative machinery may become
The third is fasting (Saum) which for a full month every
Mu’min (faithful), Muslim (obedient), Muttaqi (pious) and
year, trains a man individually and the Muslim community
Muhsin (beneficent). In fact, the ideals aimed by Islam are
as a whole, in piety and self-restraint. Enables the soci-
achieved in a perfect manner only when the whole commu-
ety, the rich and the poor alike, to experience the pangs of
nity moves on this path and a Muttaqi and Muhsin (pious
hunger, and prepares the people to undergo any hardship
and beneficent) state comes into existence in this world.
to seek the pleasure of God.
That is the acme of civilization where virtue reigns in
society and vice is subdued. The fourth is Hajj (Pilgrimage) which aims at fostering
Let us now cast a glance at the mechanism of spiritual universal brotherhood of the faithful as the basis of wor-
training which Islam has laid down for preparing individ- ship of God, and has culminated in a movement which has
uals and society for this purpose. been answering the call of truth throughout the centuries
The spiritual system of Islam rests on four fundamen- and will, God willing, go on answering this call till eternity.

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